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Need help upgrading a video card

By kimgesch ยท 13 replies
Mar 6, 2006
  1. I am currently running a Nvidia GeForce4 Mx 420 64MB on a Dell 4550 2.4 with 512 RAM. I want to upgrade the video card, but not break the bank. So, less than $50. I'm saving for a new PC. I'm not happy with the performance in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, on average I get around 15 FPS.

    I'm not too tech savvy so I have quite a few questions:

    How important is the Clock Core speed? Is it more important to get higher memory or clock speed?

    128 or 256MB, will there be a huge difference?

    Any opinions on : Radeon 9200 9250 9550 9600? Should I stick with Nvidia? any suggetions on a Nvidia card?

    What's the difference between AGP 2x, 4x, 8x ?

    Is it worth it to pay $35 for a Radeon 9200 SE 128MB PC Video Graphics Card? or should I get something newer?
  2. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,377

    $50 isnt much to work with. The ATI 9200 and Nvidia 5200 are crap and avoid any card with 64bit memory or SE or LE in its name. Those are the lepers of video card. Do you have an AGP slot? Some Dells dont. If you need a PCI card the FX5700 is the best , for AGP check Ebay for a Radeon 9500.
  3. kimgesch

    kimgesch TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I'd like to spend at max $100 in the vid card. I have an AGP slot.
  4. paulla

    paulla TS Rookie Posts: 38

    All current AGP cards will be 8x but I can't say I've seen much difference between a good 4x and an average 8x card. The best card you could put in your system would be a 6800GT (or GS) or an X800 series. To get half decent FPS you're going to need a 6600 (prefferably a GT) or an X700. Most of the mid-range cards with 256MB of memory are no better than the 128MB versions and in fact some of them perform slightly worse due to slower memory speed. This is different for the high end cards as they have a much grater memory bandwidth and can access it effectively. If you get a 6600GT you will notice a massive FPS increase (I have one of these in a secondary machine and it screams along) but as long as you don't get a 64bit card I suspect you will seem some performance increase even with a 6200.
  5. kimgesch

    kimgesch TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    So a 128MB version of the cards listed above will be okay?

    Also, I'm limited to a 250W power supply.
  6. paulla

    paulla TS Rookie Posts: 38

    A 128MB 6600Gt will slaughter your current card and you'll be able to turn most of the optional graphics settings up to maximum.
  7. wirm

    wirm TS Rookie Posts: 64

    You might have trouble finding a 6600GT for less than $100.

    I've got a Radeon 9600XT, and it works just fine for what I use it for. Haven't played any flight sims though.
  8. kimgesch

    kimgesch TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

  9. kimgesch

    kimgesch TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Will my 250W power supply work with this card?
  10. kimgesch

    kimgesch TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    It's a AGP slot, $50 to 100 range. How is the Nvidia FX5500 or Radeon 9550?
  11. paulla

    paulla TS Rookie Posts: 38

    Brand is to some extent irrelevant however the 6200 is a) 64bit and b) crap and the 6600GT is a quality mid range card. If you want to poke yourself in the eyes with hot needles and wonder why you bothered spending $60 by all means get the 6200.
    The 250W power supply may cause you a problem but it's difficult to be 100% certain about this as all equivalent wattage (allegedly) PSU's are not created equal. A good quality 250W will have no issues but a cheap 400W might struggle, have a look on the side of your PSU and see what amps it gives on the +12v output.
  12. kimgesch

    kimgesch TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    It says 14A

    Is upgrading the power supply just a unplug/replug? Or is it more complicated?
  13. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    it is a unplug replug thing...took me 10 min. first time i did can get a 450 W. power supply on newegg for $25 or maybe less...but definatly try to go for a not rush buying, just save up and get your moneys others said 6200 and alike arent much of an upgrade from what you already have
  14. paulla

    paulla TS Rookie Posts: 38

    Dell PSUs are normally quite robust but if it's not man enough I'd have a close look at it as they sometimes use proprietary hardware in Dell machines (they've become less prone to doing this recently) and you might find a standard ATX PSU doesn't fit properly. If you're not sure it's worth asking the question on a few boards as there will be people out there who've had to replace a PSU on this model.
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